Ready for takeoff – biking on the runways

Today I diverted from my regular laps and made two fast runs on the landing strips on Tempelhof. After all, this might be the only airport in the world where you’re allowed to bike! It’s easy to see my two runs on the speed chart:


I had tailwind from the west, but it’s still a challenge to keep up the pace for the full stretch of 2 kilometers. I started with the south strip and was matched with 2 segments on strava. The first one was 1,6 km – I got place 8 of 186:


The second segment stretched out for the full 2 km of the strip, but caught fewer bikers – I got place 3 of 29:


And here’s the northern strip, place 19 of 213:


The southern road is a segment too, but it’s narrow and very crowded on weekends. Nevertheless I avaraged 41,6 km/h on some ride in 2013, which gave me place 11 of 361:


Almost all segments are led by “Henrik M”. He’s a Danish guy whom I once met at a demo since we have common friends.

I’m feeling ill now, maybe it’s because I swallowed a really big fly.

Competing on Strava

I recently registered on Strava, a site for bikers (and runners) where you can upload your rides, as plotted by the gps. I’ve used Garmin Connect for that before (and still do), but Strava is so much more fun.

When you upload an activity, Strava matches it with other people’s activities on the same course. Not just the full course (that would be very few if any people), but segments of the course. Just a single ride on Tempelhof (or any ride on Tempelhof) will fit you into at least 20 different segments that have been named by their original creators: “One lap counterclockwise”, “Three laps clockwise”, “Northwest curve”, etc. Each of these segments have their own top list.

When I registered, I uploaded all my activities since 2011, and was automatically matched against the database of segments. It was very fun to see how I match up against the other riders. Here are some examples.

1. Tempelhof Airport, 5,9 km: 19/234 (37,6 km/h)


This is the most popular full lap segment: One lap counterclockwise. My record is 37,6 km/h which gives me place 19 out of the 234 persons who have biked exactly this segment.

Sometimes you aren’t matched with a certain segment (like this one) despite you know you have biked it. That is because you have diverted too much from the course, as first biked by the person who first uploaded and named it. Fortunately, on Tempelhof there are pink dots showing an exact 6 km lap around the airport, like this (photo from last year):

Tempelhof Airport Pink Dots (Rosa Punkte)

So that’s probably the reason why there are many runners who insist on running exactly on the pink dots instead of keeping to the right (where the road is narrower than on the above photo) – they are probably competing on Strava (or with themselves), and since every meter means more for runners than for bikers, they don’t want to diverge at all from the course.

2. Tempelhof again, 6,0 km: 4/61 (37,0 km/h)


This is almost the same course as the first one, but differing enough (6,0 instead of 5,9 km) to only catch 61 of the bikers, among which I am number 4.

3. Tempelhof 3 laps CW, 17,8 km: 4/30 (34,5 km/h)


This was yesterday. I almost always bike counterclockwise, but yesterday Pasculli was there and we biked three fast laps clockwise together until I gave up. So I was matched to another activity: “3 Runden rosa Punkte, Uhrzeigersinn”. Place 4 of 30.

4. Tempelhof NW-kurve, 800 m: 19/774 (47,9 km/h)


An 800 meter segment, where you can easily gain some speed if you have tailwind. 774 persons have passed this segment (it’s hard not to). My placement: 19. But now that I know that the segment exists I will try to get a faster time. I’ve often passed 50 km/h somewhere close to this stretch (yesterday with Pasculli for example), but not exactly where this segment is drawn.

5. Velothon segment, 1,1 km: 11/725 (41,9 km/h)


The Velothon course is full of Strava segments, and the persons who have biked them might have done so any of the years – or any regular day for that matter. Skalitzer Straße is my hood, so I got place 11 of 725 on that very stretch in Velothon 2013. (I ended up on place 298 of 4835 that year – counting men only.)

6. Velothon goal sprint, 600 m: 20/627 (44,5 km/h)


On the graph at the top you can see from where in the ride the segment is taken. This is at the end of Velothon 2013 (but also including racers from the other years) and I apparently had enough energy to reach place 20 of 627.

You can also search for segments on a map and quickly see how you match up against the leader (my personal record and the time difference to the leader are displayed):


Week 20, 2014

Week 20 = 12-18 May 2014

Skipped the Berlin Velothon. Malik Bendjelloul died.


  • Read 自転車男子に恋をした③
  • Played トモダチコレクション (3DS)
  • Sorted some doujinshi


  • Hunter x Hunter, episode 129
  • Yowamushi Pedal, episode 31

CSS3 – it’s so fun I did three chapters this week = finished Part Two – Applied CSS:

  • Chapter 9: Sprucing Up Your Site’s Navigation (p. 293-333)
  • Chapter 10: CSS Transforms, Transitions, and Animations (p. 335-374)
  • Chapter 11: Formatting Tables and Forms (p. 375-401)
  • On that subject: Why Do So Many Geeks Hate Internet Explorer?


Road bike:

  • Wednesday: Tempelhof x 10 (64 km) – it’s got really cold and rainy recently, but this was a fun ride with many riders out.
  • Thursday: Tempelhof x 8 and Brandenburger Tor (60 km) – extremely windy but warmer than yesterday and some fun drafting and talking (!) with other cyclists.
  • Sunday: Berlin Velothon (60 km).

Velothon 2014 – some photos from the 60 km race in the rain

No, I am not participating this year. In the last minute – having pumped the tires, filled the water bottle, put in the lenses, etc – I decided it was too cold and rainy.

Respect to those of you who are riding!

I went down to Hermannplatz and snapped this photo of the leaders of the 60 km race. Unfortunately my camera is too bad to catch any bib number:

Berlin Velothon 2014, leaders of the 60 km race at Hermannplatz

These guys came right after the leaders:

Berlin Velothon 2014, 60 km, at Hermannplatz, almost leaders

These came some minutes later:

Velothon Berlin 2014, 60 km, Hermannplatz

And these came quite a bit later, after I had bought some brötchen at a bakery:

Velothon Berlin 2014, 60 km, Hermannplatz

You can tell it was rainy from the pictures. And here are the Twitter reports I read while still undecided about whether I should go or not:

Velothon Berlin 2014 on Twitter

BZ reported from the rainy start, here is a screenshot:

Velothon Berlin 2014 rainy start

Of course it’s a defeat not to participate, but I’m an adult and I can do what I want. :)

Update: Here are the leaders of the 120 km race (looks like a Monet painting):

Berlin Velothon 2014, leaders of the 120 km race near Hermannplatz



I used my Wacom Bamboo to look up kanji (no furigana here!) while reading the third part of Akira Yomoyama’s doujinshi series 自転車男子に恋をした (“I fell in love with a male bicyclist”). It took 2,5 hours for me to finish it, but then I was simultaneously watching Nacer Bouhanni get a double puncture, catch up again and finally win the very slippery Stage 4 of Giro d’Italia (so many people fell in the end!).

Very nice, sweet and simple story as usual, and perfectly drawn. They went to the same bicycle shop (chain?) that I visited last autumn: Y’s Road:


Bicycle shop Y's Road in Ueno, Tokyo

Soma-kun’s date Hoshino-san wanted to buy a road bike, but Soma-kun was reluctant to help her so she was afraid she would buy the wrong bike. But Soma-kun assured her that there wasn’t a single bad bike in this shop, so whatever bike she chose, she wouldn’t make a mistake.



  • 巨人(きょじん)giant
  • 体育会系 athlete
  • 罰(ばつ)punishment


  • はた迷惑・な nuisance to other people
  • 原付(げんつき)moped
  • ノーヘル = ノーヘルメット no helmet
  • 逆走(ぎゃくそう)running backwards (?)
  • 野郎(やろう)ass
  • チャリンコ(チャリ)bike
  • しなやか・な supple, flexible (limbs)
  • サラサラ silky (hair)
  • ツヤツヤ glossy (skin)
  • 体型(たいけい)body type
  • 適度(てきど)・な moderate
  • つき方 ?


  • 超(ちょう)ultra- (例:超目立つ)
  • 派手(はで)・な flashy
  • 律儀(りちぎ)に dutifully
  • 高橋 尚子
  • 野口 みずき
  • 有酸素(ゆうさんそ)運動 aerobic exercise
  • 日焼け (sun) tan


I looove realism!


  • 用途(ようと)use
  • 予算(よさん)budget
  • …に応じる depends on …
  • 種類 type, category
  • 試乗車(しじょうしゃ)test car/bike
  • 原稿(げんこう)manuscript
  • 輝き(かがやき)sparkle

And here’s when I read the second volume:

Club 任天堂 Gold Member and gay marriage in Tomodachi Life


Proud to have become a Gold Member in Club Nintendo after redeeming lots of serial number cards today. A couple or three of them had already expired unfortunately, since they came with 2-hand games from Book-Off.

The reason I did this now was that I started playing トモダチコレクション (“Tomodachi Collection”) which I bought in Japan.

Tomodachi Collection

Nintendo has just launched the game in the US as “Tomodachi Life” and had to face fierce criticism from LGBT rights groups for not offering gay marriage in the game. Nintendo bowed down to the American demand and apologized.

A commenter summed it up pretty well, I think:

How dare a foreign country not have the exact same anglo-saxon morality that my generation has come to know and love in the past 10 years. Clearly they are of inferior morality.

And the game is quite fun, I’m making a lot of friends! (“Tomodachi” means friend.)

Week 19, 2014

Week 19 = 5-11 May 2014

Returned from trip to Sweden. Giro d’Italia started. Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision.


  • Some talking with Kohei (Saturday)
  • Memrise: 1,698


  • Hunter x Hunter, episode 128
  • Yowamushi Pedal, episode 30


  • 24, season 9, episode 1-2
  • Talentless Straight Men Playing With Big Production Budgets, episode 7-8. (Also known as Lilyhammer. What a sad second season.)
  • Eurovision Song Contest


  • Hans Blüher: Die deutsche Wandervogelbewegung als erotisches Phänomen. Last chapters – Aus der Freitöter-Chronik des Wandervogels, Die Freigabe der Inversion als psychosanitäre Forderung, Anhang – (p. 122-157) = finished this fantastic book from 1906 about the German scout movement and its early scandals.


  • Chapter 8: Adding Graphics to Web Pages (p. 239-291)

Read up on Ukraine in Der Spiegel 18/2014, cover story “Krieg in Europa?”:

  • Vier Tage in Slowjansk (p. 22-28)
  • “Ich kann die Angst verstehen” – Interview mit Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (p. 26)
  • Wir reaktionären Versteher – Essay von Erhard Eppler (p. 30-31)


Road bike:

  • Saturday: Tempelhof x 10 (64 km)

Eurovision 2014

Watching Eurovision 2014

We used a simple scale of 1-5, where 1 is the worst and 5 the best. I gave 13 of the 26 songs a 1, but the bad quality of the songs was at least somewhat compensated by watching them on a 60-inch plasma.

We were all very happy to see Conchita Wurst win. It feels very symbolic to Europe and these times with such a win. Maybe it will get historic status as some kind of peak for Western modernity, as Conchita symbolizes the modern gay persona with her female looks and beard. Maybe it will be looked back upon as sweet naivety, as this historical parenthesis will inevitably close, just like the one in 1920s Berlin had to. (Ever the optimist, me.)

PS: We were 2 Swedes, 2 Germans, 1 French, 1 American and 1 Japanese!

Giro d’Italia and a new bike doujinshi

Delivery from Alice Books, Tokyo

自転車男子に恋をした③ by Akira Yomoyama

Perfect timing on the latest delivery from Alice Books: 「自転車男子に恋をした③」by Akira Yomoyama.

I’m opening it as I’m watching the first stage (except the time trial yesterday) of Giro d’Italia, and relaxing with Erdinger Alkoholfrei after ten rounds on Tempelhof. I’m paying for something called “Eurosport Player”!